Browsing the Journals

JournalsCarl E. Mungan

  • The November 2009 issue of The Physics Teacher has an unusually large number of articles with insightful physics experiments and theory, including discussion of cosmic ray detection, inverse-square forces, the Coanda effect, back emf, static equilibrium, general relativity, capillary rise, terminal velocity, the Coriolis force, and boomerangs, among many other topics.

  • I enjoyed the Quick Study entitled “The surprising motion of ski moguls” on page 68 of the November 2009 issue of Physics Today. It clearly explained how moguls form (with what characteristic spacing and amplitude) and why they slowly migrate uphill by about 8 cm per day. Get out your skis and test some physics in action!

  • A French trio present a pedagogically instructive mechanical model for a Carnot engine on page 106 of the January 2010 issue of the American Journal of Physics. The hot reservoir consists of a partially filled egg carton of balls located vertically higher than another egg carton comprising the cold reservoir. The mean and standard deviation of the gravitational potential energy and configurational entropy are easily calculated, and therefore also the effective reservoir temperatures and the engine efficiency.

  • Recently in our department there has been discussion of how to best experimentally investigate and model damped oscillations of a mass on a spring. So it was with great interest that I noticed an article on page 121 of the January 2010 issue of the European Journal of Physics. Three physicists from Colombia present data for a sphere oscillating in aqueous glycerin solutions of different concentrations and container sizes. They show that it is necessary to introduce corrections to the standard Stokes model in order to fit the data.

  • The November 2009 newsletter of the International Commission on Physics Education includes an article entitled “Recent Developments in Physics Education in Canada.”

  • A set of MathCad symbolic mathematics programs and associated documentation for various topics of relevance to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics are included in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education, as can be accessed online starting at

  • David Griffiths (recently retired from Reed College) has an article with his thoughts about teaching physics entitled “Illuminating physics for students” in the September 2009 issue of Physics World.

Carl Mungan is an Associate Professor of Physics at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.
Disclaimer - The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the APS Forum on Education Newsletter are not peer refereed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of APS.